Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has assented to the state’s 2021 Appropriation Bill, with assurance that the state government would strive to recover from the economic challenges engendered by COVID-19 pandemic.
Okowa, who signed the bill yesterday in Asaba, the state capital, commended the state’s House of Assembly for speedy passage of the Bill.
He said that signing the budget with a month to the end of 2020 would avail the state government the opportunity to plan further towards the implementation of the 2021 budget from January, 2021.
He thanked God for the warm working relationship between the executive and the legislature in the state, and said that the government would remain focused in implementing the budget as passed, for the benefit of all the people of the state.
“You have just witnessed my signing into law the 2021 Appropriation Bill, and as I said on October 27, during the presentation of the bill, we are in very difficult times this year, no doubt both in this country and globally.
“And, with the second wave of the pandemic, it will create a further challenge for the recovery of the economy of our nation.
“However, we are optimistic that in the 2021 fiscal year, things will gradually improve and we will be able to get back to the levels of infrastructural development and the human capital development for our people.
“This is very necessary because there is a lot of pain; there is a lot of unemployment and our people are generally getting restive nationally and I pray that God will help us and this nation to rediscover ourselves and to commit every work of our people and our state and nation for the common good of all our citizens.
“The budget is termed ‘budget of economic recovery’ because we are very much aware of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, both on our health systems and the economy of the country, which is still largely dependent on the oil economy,’’ he said.
The governor explained that a lot was being done to grow the agricultural sector nationwide, but stated that the programme would take time for it to begin to manifest meaningfully.
According to him, as long as the people are still dependent mainly on the oil economy with the global pandemic going, they will definitely have a lot of shortfall, both in the prices and the volumes of oil that is being sold in the international market.
“This obviously impacted negatively on our budget in 2020 that we had to reduce our budget downward twice in the year.
“However, I want to use this medium to appreciate our various contractors who had continued to stay in their various sites to work even when it is becoming increasingly difficult to make payments on contractual agreements already made.
“We will continue to be very responsible as a state and we will continue to work with them to deliver on our projects,” he explained.